- A man punched a pizzeria manager after being asked to leave for not wearing a mask, police said.
- The man also smashed a window of the pizzeria in Madison, Wisconsin, according to police.
- Restaurant, retail, and airline staff have witnessed increased violence over COVID-19 safety rules.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A man punched the manager of a pizza restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin, in the face and smashed a window after being asked to leave over his refusal to comply with a mask mandate, police said.
Officers responded to reports of a disturbance at 100 State Street – the address of Ian’s Pizza – at around 2 a.m. on Friday morning, per an incident report by City of Madison police. The Wisconsin State Journal first reported on the incident.
“The suspect got into a verbal argument with other patrons when the suspect refused to mask up upon entering the business,” Officer Ryan Kimberley wrote in the report.
Madison and Dane County Public Health requires people to wear masks in enclosed public spaces where other people are present. If businesses in the City of Madison don’t comply with the order, they could be fined up to $376.
“The suspect was asked to leave by the manager of the business due to the unruly nature and no mask, the suspect responded by punching the manager in the face,” Kimberley continued. “The suspect then went outside and punched out an 8×8 window.”
Kimberley said that the 20-year-old suspect left but was later taken into custody by police and booked into the Dane County Jail for the tentative charges of battery and disorderly conduct.
Ian’s Pizza did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Throughout the pandemic, customers have clashed with public-facing workers, including restaurant, retail, and airline staff, over coronavirus safety protocols such as mask requirements, vaccine mandates, and social-distancing policies.
“I had adult males yell at me because they didn’t want to wear a mask or because our policies were too harsh,” former restaurant server Desi Caswell told The Seattle Times.
A 19-year-old McDonald’s worker said last year that she was assaulted after asking a customer to wear a mask, while a restaurant in San Francisco said customers threatened to spit on and cough at front-door staff after being asked to show proof of vaccination.
A Southwest Airlines flight attendant was punched in the face and lost two teeth in May after asking a passenger to put on her seatbelt, stow away her tray table, and wear her mask properly, per court documents.
In Canada, a man urinated on the counter of a Dairy Queen restaurant after being asked to wear a mask, according to police.
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